Monticello has its premise in a historical fact: Thomas Jefferson did invite students from the University of Virginia to dine with him at Monticello. In 1826, the last year of Jefferson's life, Edgar Allan Poe enrolled at the university. What might have happened in an encounter between Jefferson and Poe? Geoghegan’s play – set on July 2, 1826, which was two days before the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence – offers an answer.
One of the key questions of the play is the battle over the legacy of Jefferson and his famous Declaration, specifically on the question of slavery. Slaveholders in the Virginia legislature -- including Jefferson’s violent nephew Randolph – demand a statement that "clarifies" the Declaration to declare that slaves are inferior beings. (They dangle an offer for the State of Virginia pay off all of Jefferson’s debts and save Monticello.) Two of Jefferson's slaves, Abby and Frederick, try to sneak in a different draft that announces that a dying Jefferson has decided to free all his slaves. His daughter Martha wants to please everyone, but Sally Hemings might have the final word. Monticello is a play of ideas and poetry that grapples with one of the most revolutionary documents in political history.
available at the door
Location: CHAW's Black Box Theatre
Hosted by Guillotine Theatre @GuillotiNeTheat
Merrily pushing the idea that classics are visceral, larger-than-life,occasionally very bloody…and sometimes include really cool language, Guillotine Theatre presents classic plays and new plays on classic themes.